Politics

Democratic Members of House Select Investigative Panel Release Report

The Democratic members on the Republican controlled House Select Panel investigating abortion providers released their own report on Monday, outlining independent findings from the over-a-yearlong investigation that is set to cost the American tax payers $1.5 million.

Their report finds that fetal tissue is the best resource for researching, understanding and developing treatments for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and HIV/AIDS, and that Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health clinics actually lose money by facilitating fetal tissue donation.

They also conclude that the top concern of these healthcare providers is to keep their patients safe, and the accusation that they would delay or alter the method of abortion in order to attain a better fetal tissue sample is false.

The report proceeds to outline the harm that has been done to life-saving fetal tissue research because of the Panel’s investigation. A doctor from the University of California, San Diego who is trying to develop a cure for multiple sclerosis said that the supply of fetal tissue had become widely less available, with another researcher remarking that “this kind of delay…results in the additional deaths of people who could have been rescued.”

Multiple clinics and tissue procurement agencies stopped facilitating fetal tissue donations because of threats inspired by the Center for Medical Progress’s (CMP) videos and the Panel investigation. Those forced to testify before the Panel have been compared to Nazi war criminals and fear for their personal safety. Some doctors who have received death threats after being subpoenaed by the Panel now require 24-hour security.

Because of these constant threats to personal safety, almost everyone contacted by the Panel has been reluctant to release the names of employees, students, doctors and researchers facilitating fetal tissue research. Republicans on the Panel have refused to safeguard their information in anyway, instead issuing subpoenas to demand identities and then, in some cases, publicly revealing them. Panel Republicans have never justified a reason for building a database of these names.

Yet the Panel has never subpoenaed for testimony David Daleiden, director of CMP, or any of his associates despite Panel Republicans using much of CMP’s fraudulent materials as “evidence” against abortion providers and researchers. Close ties between Republican Panel members and CMP have been of repeated concern, as CMP has actively fought releasing the names of any individuals associated with the anti-abortion group, including who is funding the organization and who is receiving progress reports.

Just last week, Daleiden revealed that the Panel had referred Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast to the attorney general of Texas for investigation hours before the Panel or any of its members publicly released that information.

The rates of violence and threats against abortion providers and medical researchers have increased since the release of the fraudulent video series and subsequent Panel investigation. The Feminist Majority Foundation has been calling on the Panel to either redirect its focus to violence against abortion providers or disband. Take action here.

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